Memo to the American Media from Sheikh Muhammad al-Zawahiri
Recently, I participated in a three-day national security forum with some knowledgeable military officers. The briefing focused on Fourth Generation Warfare in the Second Nuclear Age, and the formidable threats we face from Jihadi terrorists.
The non-attribution policy of such briefings prohibits me from identifying any of the presenters, but I can tell you that one of them summed up the current nuclear WMD threat as paraphrased: If the American people could see the bone-chilling threats outlined in the [classified] cable traffic concerning al-Qa’ida and other Islamist terror networks, there would be little dissension about our military mission.
Unfortunately, there is a wide gap between what the mainstream media reports about Iraq and other theater operations, and the underlying rationale for those operations, which are classified in order to protect methods and sources. Though there is an effort under way now to declassify more real-time intel, it won’t close that gap because the major networks and print outlets are more concerned with political agendas, which most often mirror those of the far left. Consequently, their “journalism” contains much more fragrance than substance.
Notably, the most senior presenter at the aforementioned briefing discussed the topic “Media as Terrain”—how our adversaries use the media as a battleground. He used this declassified quote to make his point: “I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.” That quote is from an intercepted and authenticated communiqué from Osama bin Laden’s chief lieutenant, Sheikh Ayman Muhammad al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, before Zarqawi’s termination last June.
The fact is that much of what is reported in the American media reflects not only the propaganda machines of the Left, but also that of our Jihadi adversaries. Too often the content from those machines is indistinguishable.
Two weeks ago, this column took to task a mainstream-media organ (Newsweek) for its cover story on Iraq entitled, “We’re losing.” There was nothing particularly extraordinary about the Newsweek piece except that it typified the Leftmedia’s relentless and traitorous efforts to undermine America’s will and national resolve to defeat a dangerous enemy.
Indeed, Islamist leaders must be thrilled by the support they receive from American media Leftists—those sympathizers whom V.I. Lenin once famously dubbed “Useful Idiots.”
This week, among other egregious examples of Leftmedia dissent, was a notable tome that went beyond the normal disparagement of Operation Iraqi Freedom and instead adopted John Kerry’s modus operandi: Don’t just question the war, attack the credibility of our warriors “stuck in Iraq.” The offender is William Arkin, a military analyst for NBC and writer for the Washington Post, whose bio fails to mention his previous employment and affiliation with Leftist organizations, including the Institute for Policy Studies, Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Last week, Arkin posted a column on the Post’s website attacking U.S. military personnel. The column exposed the underlying contempt held by many MSM “journalists” for those who defend our nation.
Arkin wrote, in part: “Through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform, accepting that the incidents were the product of bad apples or even of some administration or command order. So we pay the soldiers a decent wage, take care of their families, provide them with housing and medical care and vast social support systems and ship obscene amenities into the war zone for them, and their attitude is that we should, in addition, roll over and play dead, defer to the military and the generals and let them fight their war, and give up our rights and responsibilities to speak up because they are above society? …[T]he recent NBC report is just an ugly reminder of the price we pay for a mercenary—oops sorry,—volunteer force that thinks it is doing the dirty work.”
The “indulged rapists and murderous mercenaries” of whom Arkin writes are the men and women who serve our nation in uniform, and who do so, almost to a person, with honor and humility. As I have noted in this column before, there is no more humble gesture than to stand in harm’s way and offer one’s life for the liberty of others, most of whom take such liberty for granted.
This would be the same William Arkin who, in 2003, “outed” Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, Commanding General of Special Forces at Fort Bragg, for his Christian world view after Gen. Boykin said of the hunt for Osman Atto in Mogadishu: “He went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he said, ‘They’ll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will protect me.’ Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”
Arkin accused Gen. Boykin of being “an intolerant extremist … who believes in Christian ‘jihad’.”
Arkin has rebuffed objections to his latest rant with two subsequent essays entitled “Demonization and Responsibility” and “The Arrogant and Intolerant Speak Out.” He claims, “The torrents of [complaints] represent the worst of polarized and hate-filled America. [I am not] apologizing for being critical of the military. Instead, I’m trying to make sense of the worldview of those who have responded. For the critics, I have become the enemy and have been demonized. … I am part of the all powerful, self-congratulatory, far-left, Bush-bashing, fifth-column mainstream. It isn’t so much what I say … it is more that I sit in my safe little cubicle in front of a keyboard sipping lattes, giving aid and comfort to the enemy while our boys and girls die. In other words, I’m comfortable while others suffer.”
Well, if the shoe fits…
Arkin, like most of his arrogant ilk, thinks that he is somehow bullet-proof to criticism; that even though he now finds himself in a deep hole of his own design, he needn’t stop digging. He is probably right, at least in regard to his job security.
NBC responded to complaints about its military analyst with this disingenuous reply: “The comments in question were made by Mr. Arkin in his Washington Post column. He does not speak on behalf of NBC News.”
Of course, everything Arkin says at NBC reflects what he wrote at the Washington Post, which, by the way, invoked “no comment” in response to complaints.
It is notable that neither NBC nor the Washington Post challenges the substance of Arkin’s comments, but they cannot feign surprise. After all, the title of Arkin’s latest book, “Codenames: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs, and Operations in the 9/11 World,” says it all. If I were a betting man, I would take odds that any terrorist listed in Who’s Who among Jihadis has a copy of that book.
Notably silent during this whole Arkin affair is General Electric, which owns NBC and collects billions of dollars from military-procurement and operations contracts.
(Footnote: Arkin closed the reader response blog under his Washington Post column after receiving more than 900 objections.)